For all that Jarred Bossio and Cameron Peck have in common, the long-time friends wish their Wednesday afternoons hadn’t been so strikingly similar.
Both Olympia natives took early two-hole leads in the first round of match play at the U.S. Amateur. Both promptly lost their leads and fell behind by three holes. Both rallied to give themselves a little hope. Then both lost their matches on the 17th hole.
Now both are making plans to get back to their respective colleges so they don’t get too far behind in their studies.
“Overall it was a positive experience,” Peck said of the U.S. Amateur. “It’s hard to qualify and it’s hard to make the cut. I wish I had made it a little bit farther in match play, but I can’t complain too much.”
Peck, who plays for Texas A&M, lost 2-and-1 (down two holes with one to play) to Scott Strohmeyer of Alabama. Bossio, a junior at Idaho, lost 2-and-1 to Harris English of Georgia.
Peck won the first two holes against Strohmeyer, but he didn’t exactly feel like he was dominating.
“I didn’t really win those holes,” Peck said. “The guy made mistakes.”
But fortunes quickly shifted and the explanation was quite simple. “I started hitting some bad shots and he started hitting some good shots,” Peck said.
Between holes four and nine, Peck lost five holes. “That’s not very good,” he said with a chuckle.
Peck started rallying on the back nine, by driving the green on the par-4 12th and making a birdie. And when Strohmeyer bogeyed No. 13, Peck rolled in a par putt to pull within one hole.
“I was feeling pretty good,” Peck said. “Then I started making pars and I couldn’t make any birdies.”
When Peck put his drive on No. 16 in the bunker and couldn’t recover, he lost the hole and his best change of catching Strohmeyer. Strohmeyer advanced to play Justin Thomas of Kentucky this morning at 8:30 in the second round.
Bossio’s day started with two miss hits that led to him conceding the first hole.
“I said, ‘Alright, I’m done. … Restart,’” Bossio said.
He got to reset the match by winning the par-4 second hole with a par. He won the fifth and sixth holes to go up by two, but he still wasn’t feeling great about the way he was playing.
“I struggled for the first nine holes,” Bossio said. “I had the lead but I still felt like I was struggling.”
Bossio lost the next four holes, with bogeys on three of the holes.
“I gave him the momentum,” Bossio said.
Trailing by two, he did his best to regain the momentum with big shots on the 11th and 12th holes.
On the par-4 11th, Bossio hit his approach shot within a foot for an easy birdie. However, English made a 6-foot putt to split the hole. Bossio drove the green on the par-4 12th after English laid up. But Bossio two-putted and English hit a sand wedge inside three feet of the hole and both birdied.
“I couldn’t separate myself from him,” Bossio said.
On the 16th hole English needed only to make a 3-foot putt to win the match, but his putt lipped out and Bossio won the hole.
Moments later on the 17th, Bossio needed English to miss another short putt – this one about five feet – but English rolled it in to secure the victory and an 8:20 a.m. second-round match today against Eugene Wong of the University of Oregon.
“Losing 2-and-1 is respectable,” Bossio said. “I lost 6-and-5 at the PNGA so at least I looked like I belonged out there.”
Bossio, a marketing major, hoped to drive to the University of Idaho on Wednesday night so he could be in classes this morning.
If he thought about the U.S. Amateur as he drove across the state his thoughts were certainly mostly positive.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “Just to make this tournament and make the cut is good. I’m happy with the way things went.”
And having two golfers from Olympia playing in a field of the 64 best amateurs in the country is something he is proud of.
“Usually when you think of places that have good golf you think of California and Arizona, places where they have sun all the time,” Bossio said. “There is a lot of good golf coming out of Washington right now and it’s cool to be a part of it.”